Study: Birthing center labor and delivery is twice as risky for a baby's life than delivery in a hospital

Over the past few years, health insurance companies have been publishing articles with tips for patients about healthcare. I have noticed that some of their recommendations, though, seem more motivated by their bottom-line than with patient safety in mind.

For example, some health insurers tout the use of birthing centers over hospitals for the labor and delivery of babies. While about 99% percent of American babies are born in a hospital setting, the number of mothers choosing birthing centers been on an upward trend.

From my experience as a Houston, Texas medical malpractice attorney, I think that is bad advice. The reason is simple.

Sure, it is true that birthing centers work out fine for many deliveries. They are certainly less expensive than hospitals. That is why many insurance companies recommend them, because they save them money.

When there is an emergency during labor and delivery, though, most birthing centers are not equipped to handle them as immediately and comprehensively as most hospitals are. Most birthing centers are staffed with midwives instead of obstetrician/gynecologist physicians. A midwife, of course, has less training than a physician.

An Oregon study released looked at 75,000 low-risk births over a two-year period. The researchers concluded that the risk of baby death is twice as high when mothers planned deliver at a birthing center or at home (3.9 per 1,000 babies died before, during, or in the month after labor), as opposed to a hospital (1.8 per 1,000 babies).

This really caught my attention. If there is a substantially increased risk of baby death in low-risk births planned for birthing centers, imagine how much higher the risk would be for high-risk pregnancies.

We are here to help

If you or a loved one has been seriously injured by birthing center, hospital, OB/GYN, or midwife malpractice or mistakes, then you should hire an experienced medical malpractice lawyer immediately.

I have handled all kinds of birth injury lawsuits, including delayed delivery, fetal distress, ruptured placenta, ruptured uterus, and maternal fetal hemorrhage, among others, that caused brain damage and cerebral palsy.

Painter Law Firm is here to help you. Click here to send us a confidential email via our “Contact Us” form or call us at 281-580-8800.

All consultations are free and, because we only represent clients on a contingency fee, you will owe us nothing unless we win your case. We handle cases in the Houston area and all over Texas. We are currently working on medical malpractice lawsuits in Houston, The Woodlands, Sugar Land, Conroe, Dallas, Austin, San Antonio, Corpus Christi, Bryan/College Station, and Waco.


Robert Painter is a medical malpractice attorney at Painter Law Firm PLLC, in Houston, Texas. He is a former hospital administrator who represents patients and family members in medical negligence and wrongful death lawsuits against hospitals, physicians, surgeons, anesthesiologists, and other healthcare providers. A member of the board of directors of the Houston Bar Association, he was honored, in 2017, by H Texas as one of Houston’s top lawyers. In May 2018, the Better Business Bureau recognized Painter Law Firm PLLC with its Award of Distinction.

Robert Painter
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Robert Painter

Robert Painter is an award-winning medical malpractice attorney at Painter Law Firm Medical Malpractice Attorneys in Houston, Texas. He is a former hospital administrator who represents patients and family members in medical negligence and wrongful death lawsuits all over Texas. Contact him for a free consultation and strategy session by calling 281-580-8800 or emailing him right now.